Q&A: Swedish Migration Agency explains their role in asylum applications
STOCKHOLM (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - In Your World reached out to the Swedish Migration Agency for an on-camera interview, but they were not available to speak on camera, or over Skype.
But we did send them some questions about their operations, that they agreed to answer via email:
How does your office work?
The Swedish Migration Agency is an authority that examines applications from persons wishing to settle in Sweden, visit, seek protection from persecution or have Swedish citizenship.
The Migration Agency is commissioned by the parliament and Government, which establishes the Swedish asylum and migration policy. We are therefore working on behalf of the Swedish people through the politicians who decide on migration policy.
Government objectives for the Migration Agency:
The aim is to ensure a long-term sustainable migration policy that safeguards asylum and, in the context of regulated immigration, facilitates cross-border mobility, promotes demand-driven labour immigration and recovery, taking into account the developmental effects of migration, and deepening European and international cooperation.
Within the refugee reception, the Migration Agency offers asylum seekers accommodation and money for food while waiting for a message in the asylum case. When a refugee has been granted permission to stay in Sweden, we pay state compensation to municipalities and county councils. If an asylum seeker get’s the application refused , the Swedish Migration Agency is active in the process of getting the person to leave Sweden.
When a foreigner has been granted permission to live in Sweden, it is primarily Sweden's municipalities and county councils and the Employment Service, which has the task of integration.
What is it like to hear some of the stories people tell about having to flee their country?
In the role of administrator we meet people who have been involved in many awful experiences, which is why they left their home country. As an administrator the task is to make them feel safe to tell us about the reason for applying for asylum.
Is there a need for more assistance?
Right now there is not so many people applying for asylum in Sweden, since the government in the 20th of July 2016 changed the politics regarding asylum. The government decided on a new temporary law which means that the person in need of protection only has a time-limited residence permit instead of a permanent residence permit.
You who are deemed to have refugee reasons are granted a residence permit of three years. You who are deemed to be alternatives to protection are entitled to a residence permit of 13 months. Family reunification is possible for those who have refugee status, but limited for alternative protection needs. In addition, there is a provision for living for those who want to get their relatives to Sweden.
But in 2015 there was historically many people applied for asylum in Sweden - 163.000, compared with 29.000 people 2016 and 25 666 last year.
By 2015, the Migration agency had a major challenge in finding accommodation for all those who came to Sweden. The agency also strongly needed to expand its number of officials working on the authority to handle the work.
Now the migration agency reduces the number of accommodation places and notice of termination to the officials now working, because the number of people seeking asylum in Sweden has decreased.
We submitted additional questions, but were told those should be asked of the Swedish government.